The Mustangs were able to keep Golden Eagles at bay, outscoring the visitors 9-1 for their third league victory in as many games this season. Walker Valley improved to 5-2 overall with the win.
Mustang pitcher Kamren Barnes was solid from the mound all evening, as 65 out of his 87 pitches were strikes. Barnes allowed seven hits, while striking out nine and issuing no walks while going the distance for the complete-game effort.
“No pitching from behind (in the count). That was good to see. Kamren did a good job of working ahead in the count all night long. He did what we had to do to win,” Mustang head coach Joe Shamblin said after the victory.
After two scoreless innings, members of the Navy-and-Gold were getting antsy and the phrase “let’s get the bats going” could be heard echoing throughout the dugout.
“Our base running wasn’t very good today so we have to get better at that. We didn’t hit it very good early, but we got on it there in the last couple innings. I’d like to see us hit a little better early in the game, but I’ll take it,” Shamblin stated.
After a pair of scoreless frames, the bats would indeed get going in the bottom of the third, starting with a deep hit by Bradley Smith, which got him to second base.
A sacrifice fly from Caleb Longley was able to advance Smith to third base before Barnes wound up walking and Austin Scott took over as the courtesy runner. Scott was quickly able to steal second, with Smith poised and ready for a run from third.
A solid hit to the outfield by Drew Lyles secured the first two runs for Walker Valley, as Smith and Scott were able to come home. Lyles accounted for the third run of the inning a little later on an Eagle error.
Rhea County was able to get its lone run in the fourth before the Mustangs put a 3-spot on the board in both the fifth and sixth frames.
In the bottom of the fifth, Walker Valley took advantage of some shaky Rhea County pitching with four walks, a single by Chase Prince and a wild pitch leading to a trio of runs.
In the sixth, Josh Poole laced a two-out double and after Logan Melton drew a walk and Prince was “beaned” to load the bases, Elijah Haynie cleared the sacks with a single to wrap up the scoring.
Smith was the only Mustang with multiple hits, going 2-for-4 with a double, while Barnes and Poole each added a two-base hit. Lyles and Haynie collected a pair of RBIs apiece.
The teams will battle again this evening in Evensville to complete the district home-and-home format. First pitch is set for 7 p.m.
“Baseball is a different game. You can come out and beat a team bad and then the next day they beat you bad. It’s just a wild game,” Shamblin explained.
Rhea County 000 100 0 — 1 7 3
Walker Valley 003 033 x — 9 8 0
WP: Kamren Barnes (2-0) 7 IP, 9 Ks, 0 BB, 7 hits, 1 ER. LP: Jalen Smith. 2B: Kamren Barnes, Josh Poole, Bradley Smith (WV). RBI: Drew Lyles 2, Elijah Haynie 2 (WV). Highlights: Smith 2-4, Records: Walker Valley 5-2, 3-0 District 5-AAA.